Silverberg Group - Bringing Your Employee Benefits into Focus

Travelling for Canada’s 150th Anniversary!

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This summer marks Canada’s 150th anniversary and over 60% of Canadian travellers have chosen to travel within our beautiful country to celebrate. Whether it is a hiking adventure in British Columbia, a family trip to the prairies, or a fishing excursion out east, there are many options for Canadians to enjoy everything our great country has to offer. Vacations within Canada also seem to be less stressful. Without the concern of exchanging currency, getting your passports and documents in order, and international phone plans, there is more time to focus on adventure, family and friends.

One aspect of domestic travel that seems to get bunched into the worry-free category is health care and travel insurance, as most Canadians believe that they are simply covered through their provincial health plan. While this is true for the most part, there can be gaps in coverage for expenses such as air ambulance rides and hospitalization — a bill that could reach well into the thousands of dollars in certain circumstances. The second line of defense, often provided through a group benefits plan, is out of province/country coverage which is typically included within the Extended Health Care (EHC) benefit. EHC helps plan members and their dependents pay for medical expenses that aren’t covered by their provincial plan, both at home and away. Extended Health Care plans vary, but can include coverage for everything from prescription drugs, to paramedical services, to medical equipment (crutches, hearing aids, etc.) and emergency travel assistance. While the vast majority of group benefit plans include EHC with travel coverage, some plans may not. A good rule of thumb is if you think you have coverage, but are not 100% sure, it is best to double check.

Supplemental travel insurance is another option and can provide coverage that EHC often does not, for things like trip interruption/cancellation and lost baggage insurance. Travel insurance can roughly cost $50-$80 for a two-week trip, while providing up to $5 – $10 million in total coverage. Some people may already have travel insurance through their credit card and while this is a nice feature, certain plans may only cover international trips. It is therefore important to make sure that you read the fine print in advance. It is also essential when purchasing supplemental insurance to be up-front about any pre-existing medical conditions to ensure that you do not run into any problems with coverage down the road. The same goes for women in the last 9 weeks of pregnancy — there was a case a couple of years ago involving an Alberta woman, traveling in Ontario, who had to be airlifted to hospital when she went into premature labor and soon after received a bill for $30,000 for the emergency service. Fortunately, the Government of Alberta and Ontario stepped in to help, but it is definitely not something worth leaving to chance.

So pack up the boats, bicycles and bug spray and enjoy celebrating Canada’s anniversary. We here at Silverberg Group are proud to be Canadians and wish you the best on your summer adventures. If there is anything we can do to help put your mind at ease when it comes to your travels, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. If you have any specific questions surrounding coverage or special conditions for out of province/country insurance, we suggest you contact your insurer directly. jpeg-5